Set Goals  - American Cities Climate Challenge
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Set Goals

Setting clear goals can help communities align their priorities and tailor Solarize campaigns to their specific needs. A community’s goals will affect key campaign processes, including securing funding for lower-income incentives and partnering with financial institutions, crafting the outreach strategy, and selecting the RFP evaluation criteria.

When possible, translating goals into specific, measurable, and attainable outcomes is highly recommended. This makes it easier to track and measure progress and inform improvements for future campaigns. Consider reviewing the outcomes of other campaign examples and the partners and funding they secured to guide your campaign’s aspirations. The following examples illustrate how a community’s economic, environmental, and equity priorities can be translated into actionable campaign goals.

Example Campaign Goal
Example Actions to Achieve the Goal
Increase solar installations, particularly in communities of color.

Example Campaign Goal

The campaign should result in [X] households installing solar, with at least [X] installations among Black households or BIPOC-majority census tracts.

Example Actions to Achieve the Goal

Focus outreach on communities of color and work closely with community organizations.
Expand LMI solar development to decrease energy burden.

Example Campaign Goal

The campaign should result in [X] solar installations in households with incomes below 80% of the median income. These campaign participants should see an immediate reduction in their electricity-related expenses at $0 up-front cost.

Example Actions to Achieve the Goal

Secure funding to provide lower-income incentives on top of the Solarize discount and partner with financial institutions for low-interest financing.
Stimulate local jobs and economic development.

Example Campaign Goal

The campaign should result in [$X] invested in the local economy and create [X] local living wage jobs for small, minority-owned contractors.

Example Actions to Achieve the Goal

Prioritize local contractors, a unionized workforce, or women- or minority-owned solar installers when selecting the installer.
Integrate additional clean energy goals.

Example Campaign Goal

The campaign should result in [X%] of projects paired with energy efficiency measures or related home repair upgrades.

Example Actions to Achieve the Goal

Integrate energy efficiency, EV chargers, battery storage, roof repair, and electrical system upgrades in the RFP and program offerings.
Empower and educate the community.

Example Campaign Goal

Partner with [X] CBOs, employ and train [X] community liaisons, recruit [X] solar ambassadors, and educate [X] community members.

Example Actions to Achieve the Goal

Prioritize community partners from the start and host multiple educational workshops.

Collecting baseline data helps inform the aspirations of certain goals and allows for the quantification of a campaign’s impacts. The following baseline data can be helpful when forming energy-related goals:

  • Current residential solar installations:

    To measure a campaign’s impact on installed solar overall and by income and racial demographics, local governments will need to work with their building permitting department or their electric utility to obtain data on the prior total number and capacity of solar installations per year.

  • LMI rooftop solar potential:

    To inform the target number of LMI solar installs through the campaign, local governments can use NREL’s Solar for All tool to determine the total number and percentage of LMI single-family rooftops suitable for solar in each census tract in their community.

  • LMI average energy burden:

    To inform which communities are most energy burdened and thus in the most need of solar to reduce their expenditures, local governments can use NREL’s Solar for All tool or the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) LEAD tool to determine LMI residents’ average energy burden at the county and census tract level, respectively.

  • Current residential solar economics:

    To inform the potential for solar to lower energy burden, local governments can use RMI’s Residential Emissions and Solar Economics Tool (RESET) to estimate local solar economics under different up-front cost and financing scenarios.

Suggested Next Steps:

List measurable goals and determine any data needed to monitor progress. Consider using Part 2 of RMI’s forthcoming Inclusive Solarize Campaign: Goals and Roles Worksheet for assistance.

Case Study

During RMI’s 2022 Solarize Cohort, RMI supported the Solarize Kansas City campaign in calculating the impact of different financing options on the utility bills of LMI participants. The analysis demonstrated how different levels of up-front funding (for example, a 50% versus 100% system buydown) would impact an average homeowner’s immediate and long-term cost savings.

Based on this data, the campaign’s steering committee set a goal of providing a 100% system buydown for 15 low-income households, estimated to result in a net 25-year cost savings of $17,100 for each recipient. To achieve this goal, the City of Kansas City dedicated $150,000 to the campaign’s Share the Sun program for low-income participants.